Joseph Mallord William Turner

Le Havre, Normandy 

1832

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 174 × 117 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D23976
Turner Bequest CCLIV 48 a

Catalogue entry

With the sketchbook turned horizontally, Turner filled the top half of this page with a sketch of Le Havre, looking directly into the harbour mouth. Towards the left-hand side of the scene is included the dominating presence the sixteenth-century tower of François I. A much more detailed sketch of these structures features in the Guernsey sketchbook which was probably taken on the same tour; see Tate D23539 (Turner Bequest CCLII 10). For examples of the watercolours of Le Havre that Turner worked up with a view to engraved reproduction around this time, see Tate D24647 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 82), D24698 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 133), and D24699 (Turner Bequest CCLIX 134). These culminated in two engravings in the 1834 volume of Turner’s Annual Tour: Wanderings by the Loire and Seine (1833–5; later reissued as Rivers of France); see Tate impressions T05594 and T04699. Inverted in relation to the upper sketch, a depiction of a hillside punctuated by buildings is included at the bottom of the page. Such scenery is typical of the landscape around Normandy banks of the Seine and the subject extensive study in this volume, although this sketch is too cursory to venture a more specific identification.
A list of pages in the sketchbook featuring Le Havre and Cap de la Hève is provided in the entry for folio 48 recto (D23975; Turner Bequest CCLIV 48).

John Chu
July 2014

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